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New Post 12/18/2007 9:30 AM
User is offline Datadriven
1 posts
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Data/Business Analyst Crossroads 
Modified By Datadriven  on 12/18/2007 11:32:08 AM)

I have worn different hats but have mostly been identified as a Data Analyst for 10 years. I like to take classes online during periods when I am either not working, or am able to learn without compromising my commitment to work. I am interested in SAS programming and better statistical knowledge, but I wonder how hiring managers and recruiters value these interests and skills. I feel like I need to decide at this point where to invest my time and money - should I become more scientific and technical; more of a statistician? Or consider myself part of the business and financial community? Direction and progression is needed at this point; I don't think I have enough knowledge yet to consider myself an expert in the field and I'm limiting my opportunities.

My attraction to the more scientific approach is partly a personal preference, but somewhat practical. There seems to be a greater ROI in learning a purely technical skill such as a programming language or tool, and near instant gratification. A career move toward finance, business or management means more formal education, probably taking myself out of the work force for awhile, a student loan, and (gasp) buying and wearing at least one suit. I welcome comments, corrections, related anecdotes, or any reactions to my thoughts on this. I could be completely off base, or there could be other options that haven't occurred to me. Of course it's important to enjoy my work, but the ability to earn income and have marketable skills is the real challenge I'm addressing.

Thanks in advance for any responses from recruiters or members of this forum.

New Post 12/19/2007 12:56 PM
User is offline Adrian M.
762 posts
3rd Level Poster

Re: Data/Business Analyst Crossroads 

Do what you enjoy! If you can make a living doing what you enjoy then that's the path that you should take even if you could make more money doing something else. In the long run, you will be happier and fulfilled.

The main dilemma that you have identified is whether to focus more on technical skills vs. business/management side. Again - go with what makes you happy. However - if you could go either way then I, personally, would pick the business/management side. Why? Well - on the technical side you need to be willing to continually learn new languages, new technologies, etc. You also run the risk of having your job being either outsourced or given to some "right out of college" wiz kid who'll take the position for half the money. 

While going on the business side may mean having to go back to school you are now learning transferable skills which can be applied regardless of the technology or system used.

Hope this helps!
- Adrian

Adrian Marchis
Business Analyst Community Blog - Post your thoughts!
New Post 12/20/2007 10:31 PM
User is offline Craig Brown
560 posts
4th Level Poster

Re: Data/Business Analyst Crossroads 

Totally agree with Adrian.  Follow your interests and the career will blosom. 

If you are doing something you don't really like, you'll resent the work, you won't put in 100%, the work will sufer and the people you work with will know and before you know it you'll be stuck in a dead end somewhere, and be unhappy with 40 hours of your week as well.

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